Housebuilding Tips February 2008: Identifying asbestos danger in older homes
A part of house building is home remodeling and asbestos danger can be very real. When we're taking out the old materials, we need to be cautious and avoid airborne particles and dust.
One of the big, bad boys of airborne particles is asbestos.There are many health problems arising from the use of asbestos products from our past.
Asbestos is an exceptionally strong and heat resistant substance. It was used in many products such as insulation, tiles, brake pads, motors, and many home construction products.
It is still used in most countries, but in the United States, it is isn't used due to the health risks it has caused.
The most important thing to realize about asbestos is that it only causes problems when it becomes airborne. This happens when it is cut, broken, burned, or even disturbed.
Older homes that have asbestos products such as insulation are fine as long as the asbestos material is intact and not breaking or coming apart.
It's expensive to have removed professionally, but that's the best way to have it removed. Remodeling projects on older homes often yield small amounts of asbestos products. This is where we need to be extra careful.
Simple painters masks aren't good enough to keep the particles out. Vacuum cleaners will get the larger particles, but will stir up the smaller, more dangerous particles and make them airborne.
The problem with asbestos is that over exposure can be a silent killer. After years, you can get mesothelioma which is asbestos cancer. It puts scar tissue on the lining of the lungs and makes it very difficult to breathe.
Eventually, it can cause death, so it's really important to avoid asbestos when you're working on older homes. There is no indication or suffering at first. That is why people don't even know they are being contaminated.
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